Scoliosis – Treatment Overview

Scoliosis – Treatment OverviewScoliosis is the curvature of the spine and treatments have been developed to prevent the spinal curve from worsening and to help correct or stabilize a severe curvature. Our medical team at Colorado Spine & Scoliosis in Littleton can help you understand the scoliosis treatment overview.

The majority of scoliosis cases are mild and do not require any treatment. When it is needed, the type you receive will depend on the cause of scoliosis.

Nonstructural Scoliosis is caused by another condition, such as legs that are different lengths or muscle spasms. When the other condition is treated, scoliosis usually improves as well. Structural Scoliosis is caused by a disease or by an unknown factor and usually requires treatment.

Let’s look at the types of treatments.

  • The nonsurgical treatment route includes routine exams by a doctor to check for any curve progression or possibly using a brace to stop a spinal curve from getting worse. Adults are checked by a doctor once a year, while children with scoliosis need to have checkups about every four to six months.
  • There is also surgical treatment available for scoliosis under certain conditions. Surgery is sometimes used to help decrease the curvature of the spine and offered as a way to stabilize the spine so the curve doesn’t worsen.

Our medical team will determine which treatment is best by looking at your age, the size of your spine’s curve , and the risk of progression. The risk of progression is determined by factors like age at diagnosis for scoliosis, the size of the curve as measured by using x-rays of the spine, and skeletal age which can be decided by the Risser sign.

For children, mild curvatures of the spine need to be checked by our office every four to six months until the bones stop growing. We’ll want to make sure curves aren’t getting worse. A moderate spinal curve may need to be braced until the bones stop growing. Severe curves or moderate curves that are getting worse may require surgery.

Because surgery typically requires spinal fusion, or joining the vertebrae together permanently, the spine will stop growing at the point of fusion. This makes timing a key factor for the surgical treatment of scoliosis in children. In fact, it’s often delayed until the child is at least 10 or 12 years old.

According to WebMD, about 2% to 3% of Americans develop scoliosis by age 16. Less than 0.1% have spinal curves measuring greater than 40 degrees, which is when surgery is most likely to be recommended. Girls are more likely to have scoliosis than boys.

If a child has uneven shoulders, a prominent shoulder blade, an uneven waist, or leans to one side, you should have them checked by our medical team at Colorado Spine & Scoliosis in Littleton. A diagnosis will be made after a bone exam and an X-ray to evaluate the magnitude of the curve. We can then explain the scoliosis treatment overview if any is needed. Contact us today for more information.